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Review: Childish Gambino & Flatbush Zombies at Starland Ballroom

I saw Flatbush Zombies on April 30th open up for Childish Gambino at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. Flatbush got on the stage, opening with "Thug Waffles." The Flatbush Zombies are a trio of musicians, made up of Meechy Darko, MC Juice, and Erick Arc Elliot, hailing from Flatbush Ave Brooklyn. Meechy Darko and Juice handle most of the rapping, while Elliot handles the production.  Immediately from Darko's first line I knew I had just found my new obsession.

"Today I purchased a coffin and I ain't even dead yet, Smoked about a 100 blunts and I ain't even high yet,Darko continues with a grimy flow into the hook, "Seaweed flow must be from that weed smoke, eyes chinese cause we smoking sour diesel, blunts siamese, two of theses, you be me yo, fuck the police though we smoke it like its legal." Juice takes the final verse and gives a shout out to Danny Brown in the line "twisted my fame be, blunt after blunt after... blunt, so stuck so stuck off the what?" 

Flatbush had an extremely energetic performance that I know interested the Gambino crowd and motivated them to join the undead themselves. The Zombies also played "Laker Papers," "S.C.O.S.A," a Gucci Gucci remix, and "Piss Test," a killer collab between Danny Brown, A-Trak, and Juicy J. To me, the Flatbush Zombies are a mix between Danny Brown and ASAP Rocky, but other critics have called them Horrorcore Wu-tang revivalists trying to do justice to the genre after Limp Bizkit. Either way, they are definitely worth checking out.

Childish Gambino opened his show with the song "Outside," the first song on his album Camp. The smooth vocals were a good opening to the hard, heartfelt track about Gambino's Childhood. Speeding up the pace, Gambino continued to the next song on his album, "Fire Fly."

Following this Gambino brought the energy level up and played his hit "Bonfire." The crowd fed off of Childish's energy to create a truly hyped show. Featuring a full band with two violinists, and a background projector featuring lights and lyrics, Gambino needed to do very little to take up the whole stage and get the attention of the audience.

However, the rapper, writer, and comedian, could be seen moving throughout the whole stage interacting with all sides of the show. Gambino then went to the single that launched his career, "Freaks and Geeks." This is where the two electric violinists came in, really bringing up the emotions of the show. He opened the song by stating that the lyrics would be on the screen behind him "if anyone here didn't know the lyrics." Immediately when the violins came on the crowd went wild realizing the song choice.

Following the violin theme, Childish Gambno went on to play "All The Shine," giving the crowd a slower song to relax. Gambino followed this pattern of breaking up his energetic songs with his slow singing pieces, allowing the crowd a short break. Throughout the concert Gambino played a large selection of his older music from Culdesac. Songs that were played were "I Be On That," "So Fly," "Do Ya Like," "Fuck it All," and "I'm On It." Off his EP he also played "Lights Turned On" in addition to his hit "Freaks and Geeks." Off of the album Camp Childish Gambino also included popular tracks "Heartbeat," "Les," "Backpackers," and "Hold You Down."

Throughout the concert, Starland Ballroom was going crazy, there must have been at least twenty kids who crowd surfed to the stage area. After Gambino finished his set, he then came back to play an encore at the crowd's demand. He opened with a few songs off his unreleased album Royalty and even did a freestyle adding to the already amazing show.

Although I was unsure of what I expected from  Childish Gambino and Flatbush Zombies, they absolutely blew me away. Both came to the stage to perform with such a raw energy that they were able to capture the emotions audience. Childish Gambino put on an amazingly energetic show with a full band, and moving from side to side, kept the audience entertained and involved. Gambino truly shined on the stage and established himself as a true performer to me. I would highly recommend attending a Childish Gambino concert if you get the chance, and be sure to check out what's coming next from The Zombies. 

Review by Matt DiGiovanni

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